Cold weather is expected to hit the area soon, and Virginians are beginning to think about winter driving.
The Virginia Department of Transportation anticipates nervous drivers and has released a list of tips for staying safe on the road this winter.
The National Weather Service is also forecasting possible snow Friday and Saturday, and it is better to be prepared, according to a VDOT news release.
First, VDOT says drivers should know the road conditions and weather forecast before beginning a trip.
Preparing vehicles for winter weather is also important, and involves checking brakes, tires, batteries and the ignition system, the release said.
To maximize safety, investing in snow tires might be a good idea, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Snow tires can be especially helpful to those who live off of unpaved roads because they add extra traction.
Car batteries are also equally important, the release said. While most notice only the engine struggling to start, the car battery has a rough time in the cold too, according to the DMV. Cracks or breaks in a car’s battery cables can cause low battery fluid, resulting in cars stalling.
The DMV also recommends keeping an emergency kit in the car at all times, in case drivers get stuck in the snow. A proper emergency kit contains road flares, a jack, a lug wrench, a blanket and snacks.
VDOT warns drivers that door locks can freeze in cold weather, and even break if a driver tries to force them open. A good idea would be to purchase a bottle of glycerine for the handles and keep one at home or at the office.
While all of these tips will reduce chances of dangerous winter situations, it is still possible for drivers to get in an accident, according to VDOT. To avoid accidents, the National Safety Council recommends brushing up on basic driving skills.
In winter, drivers can become nervous and have to make quick judgment calls, according to the NSC.
During these times, accelerate and decelerate slowly, even in areas that seem clear. Black ice is also not usually visible, so it is best to anticipate it whether there is snow on the ground or not, the NSC said.
For more tips and information, visit VDOT’s website.
For statewide highway information 24 hours a day, call 511 or go to 511virginia.org.